Heartworms are a scary thought. No pet owner wants to hear that their beloved furry friend has heartworms. However, treatment methods have improved in recent years, and many pets go on to live full and healthy lives. At Lakewood Pet Vet Animal Hospital in Lakewood, we offer heartworm treatment and prevention.
What are Heartworms?
Heartworms are the stuff of nightmares for pet owners. Your pet may appear healthy or have minor symptoms that seem insignificant. However, inside their body, heartworms are growing and causing damage to their delicate system. Heartworms are transmitted through mosquitoes that carry heartworm larvae. Once in your pet's system, the heartworms make their home in the heart, lungs, and nearby blood vessels.
These worms can reach up to one foot in length. Even more concerning, they reach sexual maturity at six months old, which enables them to reproduce. Dogs can be severely infected with large numbers of heartworms.
Treatment for Heartworms
Heartworm treatment involves several steps. It can be reassuring to know that 95% of dogs who receive heartworm treatment recover, so the odds are in your furry friend's favor.
Stabilizing Your Pet
If your dog has advanced heartworm disease, which causes damage to the heart and lungs, they may need to be stabilized before starting the heartworm treatment.
Killing Heartworm Larvae
One step is to kill heartworm larvae, also known as microfilariae. Your veterinarian will give your dog medication that kills the larvae. They may need to remain at the vet's office for observation after taking the medication.
Ridding Your Pet of Adult Heartworms
Your furry friend will also need medication to kill adult heartworms. This drug is called melarsomine, and it's administered by injection. Several rounds of this medicine are often required. Your vet will explain how often you'll need to bring your dog in for treatment.
Supportive care is also necessary during heartworm treatment. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infection. Pain medications may be needed to manage the side effects of heartworm medication. Your pet will also need rest, particularly while the adult heartworms are dying and being cleared from their system.
Heartworm prevention allows you and your pet to avoid the painful consequences of heartworm infection. You can choose a monthly chewable medication, an injection, or a topical medicine for heartworm prevention. Be sure to follow the schedule for giving your pet heartworm prevention because a lapse can leave them vulnerable to heartworm infection.
Heartworm Treatment at Lakewood Pet Vet Animal Hospital
If you suspect your pet has heartworms or if you simply need heartworm prevention, contact Lakewood Pet Vet Animal Hospital at (562) 925-2300. Our skilled and compassionate veterinarians can provide the treatment your four-legged family member needs for a beautiful recovery.